Turkish Politics and the Rise of the AKP
Dilemmas of Institutionalization and Leadership Strategy
Routledge – 2009 – 240 pages
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power since 2002. This book is the first book-length analysis to chart the rise and development of the party from its Islamist roots through to government, analysing in particular its internal organisation and dynamics. Since its foundation in 2001, the AKP seems to have been more successful than any other party with an Islamic background in the history of the Turkish Republic. Drawing on interviews and analyses of quantitative data from primary and secondary sources, the author examines the party’s character as an organisation, its internal power structure, its electoral roots, strategy and leadership in the context of its organisational environment - including its constitution, major veto players as well as international actors. Going beyond a mere analysis of Turkish politics and parties, this book applies classical theories and models on political parties to the Turkish case. Focusing on the notion of ‘institutionalisation’ and its two main dimensions, autonomy and ‘systemness’, it makes an original contribution to both the empirical study of the AKP, contemporary Turkish Politics and the general discussion on theories of party organisation.
"While most studies have focused on the novelty of the AKP's ideological stance, […] Kumbaracibasi seeks to explain the AKP's electoral success almost exclusively in terms of its institutionalization and leadership strategies. This approach brings a new perspective to the mater and is refreshingly neutral, in contrast to the highly opinionated approaches that tend to dominate the field." - Alev Cinar, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 43:3, August 2011
"Arda Can Kumbaracibasi’s Turkish Politics and the Rise of the AKP: Dilemmas of Institutionalization and Leadership Strategy is recommended for scholars of Turkish politics who are specifically studying the political party system in Turkey and who think that its radical transformation is an urgent." - Cemil Boyraz, Turkish Studies, 2010
"The book is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature not only on Turkish politics in general but also, in particular, on Turkish party politics…the research has relied both on extensive documentary research and in-depth conversations with major Turkish political figures. The author must be complimented for the exceptionally rich bibliography he has consulted…the book is mandatory reading for students of Turkish politics. It is also highly recommended for students of party politics for it is rare that a political party is born and rises to rule in such a short time." - Ilter Turan, Istanbul Bilgi University, Party Politics, November 2010
1. Introduction 2. Towards a Theoretical Framework 3. Review of the Literature 4. The Laws on Political Parties (SPK) and Elections 5. Veto Players 6. Electoral Environment 7. Party Organization and "Systemness" 8. Party Ideology 9. Conclusion
Arda Can Kumbaracibasi teaches politics at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. His main research focuses primarily on the protest phenomenon and Islamic politics in Turkey.